Category: Heart Disease

HAVE A HEART! WILL AHA OR COCONUT OIL KILL YOU?

By Marika Sboros

Heart associations worldwide tend instantly to raise researchers’ blood pressure into the stratosphere. The latest “Presidential Advisory” from the American Heart Association (AHA) is no exception.

The BBC reported it as branding coconut oil “as bad for you as beef lard and butter”. USA Today reported it as that coconut oil was “even worse than beef lard and butter”.

The advisory doesn’t actually say that. It does say that replacing saturated fat with “healthier fat” lowers cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. By healthier fat, the authors mostly mean polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) in refined, processed vegetable oils. They also say that coconut oil’s high saturated-fat content makes it a potential killer.

Should you believe the AHA just because it says so? You’re better off not believing the AHA precisely because it says so, say critics. They say that coconut oil won’t kill you but listening to the AHA might.



OBESITY? FORGET FAT – IT’S THE CARBS, STUPID!

 What has obesity to do with hearts? Lots. Icelandic cardiologist Dr Axel Sigurdsson spoke recently at a meeting mostly of cardiologists and endocrinologists.

He discussed, among others, the current status of diet-heart hypothesis that saturated fat causes heart disease. And the possible relationship between fear of dietary fats and the obesity epidemic.

After the meeting, a senior colleague, an old friend and mentor, who Sigurdsson highly respects, lambasted him privately. The colleague said that the mortality from heart disease had dropped dramatically for the last 30 to 40 years. He said that was mostly from dietary changes to lower blood cholesterol. 

He was angry with Sigurdsson for asking: has the emphasis on low-fat food products ultimately steered us into an epidemic of obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes? Here, Sigurdsson explains how and why low-fat diets contribute to obesity and a whole lot more. – MARIKA SBOROS



Really! Statins side effects all in the mind?

By Marika Sboros

Are cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins really just victims of vested interests’ propaganda? Or is there something about these blockbuster drugs that gives grown medical men and women vision problems?  Can they really not see the scientific wood for the trees?

In the Lancet, UK researchers say that most people imagine the negative side-effects of statins. Co-author and corresponding author is Professor Peter Sever, of Imperial College, London. In a media report, Sever says that tens, if not hundreds, of thousands are dying from a deficiency of statins. If that sounds familiar, it’s probably because it is. His co-author is Professor Sir Rory Collins. Collins has often voiced similar sentiments.

Scottish GP Dr Malcom Kendrick hasn’t. Kendrick has a special interest in cardiovascular disease. In his latest blog post, he takes what he calls a ‘pretty forensic look’ at the Lancet study. From a scientific perspective, it is anything but pretty. 



Statins insanity: Sir Prof Collins of Statinshire at helm

Photo credit: Phinzup via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Doctors, with UK professor Sir Rory Collins at the helm, say we should all pop statins like smarties. Even if our tickers are ticking along very nicely.

Others say that’s unadulterated, mad-scientist nuttiness. South African scientist Prof Tim Noakes calls statins ‘the single most ineffective drug ever invented’. 

Here, UK blogger Nick Mailer deconstructs the man he calls  ‘Collins of Statinshire’. It’s a fascinating, considered read – and harsh for good reason. Collins is his own worst enemy in the harsh way he deals with criticism from peers.  – Marika Sboros



Don’t just swallow what doctors say on statins: Kosterich

Photo credit: psyberartist via Foter.com / CC BY

Photo credit: psyberartist via Foter.com / CC BY

Statins are blockbuster drugs that make billions for pharmaceutical companies. Research shows these drugs do little to make patients’ lives longer or better. Read The Truth About Statins by Dr Barbara Roberts, for another view.

Here, Australian physician Dr Joe Kosterich looks at conflicting research in two  British medical journals, He says it is confusing enough for doctors, never mind patients.

Kosterich calls for patients to do research, question what their doctors say about statins, and not just to swallow any prescription whole. I second that. – Marika Sboros



Statins insanity: doctors hand over to drug companies

drugsWhat’s with all this wilful blindness in top doctors globally about the risks of statins? After all, evidence shows these blockbusters drugs are not effective for cardiovascular prevention. Claims about statins’ efficacy and safety are simply not evidence-based.

Oxford University’s statins researcher Prof Rory Collins appears oblivious to that. It’s as if he genuinely doesn’t know these drugs have done more for drug makers’ profits than patients’ wellbeing. British journalist Jerome Burne says Collins belongs to the ‘never apologise, never explain’ school of argument. Here, Burne explains the ‘bizarre history’. of statins. And just why it took 30 years for the increased risk of diabetes with statin use to emerge. It’s a brilliant read about the antics of drug companies and doctors in their thrall. – Marika Sboros



Sugar and hearts: how food industry still buys scientists

By Marika Sboros

sugarHere it is, straight from the scientific horse’s mouth: Industry-sponsored nutrition research, like research the tobacco, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries have sponsored, “almost invariably produces results that confirm the benefits or lack of harm of the sponsor’s products”.

It happens “even when independently sponsored research comes to opposite conclusions”, says Dr Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public Health at New York University. It continues to this day.

Her remarks come in an invited commentary in the JAMA Internal Medicine on a study in the same issue. The study shows how the US sugar industry began deliberately initiating, paying for and influencing research to shift the blame from sugar to fat as a major risk factor for heart disease 50 years ago. Here’s more:



Statins study? 21st century medical censorship, says Kendrick

By Dasemarcalvarez (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick starts off his post on the latest statins controversy with a great George Orwell quote: ‘If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’ Kendrick is author of The Great Cholesterol Con. He is scathing about the latest research on statins published in The Lancet. Lead author is Sir Rory Collins, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Oxford University’s Clinical Trial Service Unit.

Collins and co-authors claim their research is the definitive answer to controversy surrounding safety and efficacy of the blockbuster drugs. And not just for secondary prevention – to prevent a second heart attack or stroke. They say statins are the effective for primary prevention as well – to prevent one from happening in the first place – even in otherwise healthy people. They say the debate is over because the evidence is overwhelming. Should you swallow that whole? Probably not, and not just because this study is industry-funded as the extensive DOI (declaration of interests) at the end shows. Here’s what Kendrick has to say. It’s another riveting read. – Marika Sboros



Real cause of heart disease? Not diet, says Kendrick!

heartSome doctors say a high-carb diet causes heart disease. Others say that’s not the case. Scottish GP Malcolm Kendrick has a different take. He says diet is not the key. When he talks, I listen. That’s because Kendrick is a specialist on heart disease. Because he beats to a very different drum from most cardiologists. And because he is author of The Great Cholesterol Con and Doctoring Data.

You absolutely must read those books if you are at all concerned about your health – and not dying prematurely from heart attack or stroke. Kendrick has written a series of blogs on heart disease – 18 so far. You’ll need to read them all to understand what Kendrick REALLY says about the causes of heart disease. – Marika Sboros. 



KILLING FAT PHOBIA IN A HEART BEAT: LOW CARB USA 2016

heartBy Marika Sboros

For decades, cardiologists, dietitians and assorted experts around the globe have warned people to avoid saturated fat like the proverbial plague. They said it was bad for hearts, that it would strike people down in their prime.

Turns out they got it wrong – very wrong.

Evidence shows saturated fat isn’t the heart health demon we’ve been led to believe it is. It won’t clog arteries. It won’t give you a heart attack or stroke. Many scientists now say the so-called “diet-heart hypothesis”  is unproven dogma and deadly dangerous at that. It underpins official dietary guidelines in the US and many other countries. It has bred fat phobia that can be fatal.

They say the diet-heart hypothesis is terminally ill and must be killed quickly and humanely to save lives around the globe:



Statins: more evidence on mad waste of time, money

statinsBy Marika Sboros

Cardiologists have said it for years. New Israeli research backs it up: millions of people globally take powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs they don’t need.

Statins are blockbuster drugs to lower cholesterol. They are the world’s most prescribed medicine ever. They make billions for drug companies. 

Some doctors say statins are life-saving. They already prescribe the drugs to millions around the world. They want more, otherwise healthy people to take them daily.  Other doctors say that’s “statin insanity”. They say guidelines on statin use need radical revision.The Israeli-led  multi-centre study published in the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Internal Medicine supports that view. Here’s why:



Hearty new evidence: even ‘bad’ cholesterol good for you!

By Marika Sboros

heart disease

Far from harming hearts, cholesterol protects tickers!

For decades, you’ve been fed big fat lies about saturated fat: that it will kill you, and you should lower your cholesterol to prevent premature death from heart attack or stroke. That’s if you believe Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick in the  video interview below, on his new research in the BMJ (British Medical Journal); and the growing numbers of  doctors and heart specialists worldwide who are on the same page as Kendrick.

If you believe Prof Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation, and the many others who think just like him, you’ll  swallow the research they regularly trot out about low-fat diets to support their position:



Framingham: fatal flaws in low-fat science for hearts

heart CVDYou may idly wonder sometimes why doctors and dietitians still trot out advice to eat a low-fat diet to protect your heart when there wasn’t ever much science to back it up. More so in the wake of a growing body of science to show low-fat is not protective of most hearts after all. So just how did scientists manage to persuade doctors and the public otherwise – that low-fat was the way to go? They simply buried the evidence to show that it wasn’t, says US physician Dr Michael Eades. They did so not because they were bad, but likely because they just couldn’t face up to data that contradicted their passionately held beliefs. In other words, they were suffering from a nasty bout of cognitive dissonance, a relatively common phenomenon in scientific circles. In this blog below, Eades takes apart the “Framingham Study”, an egregious example of that cognitive dissonance in action. It remains as relevant today as when Eades wrote it some years ago. Reading it is enough to make hearts race at the implications for public health worldwide. – Marika Sboros

 By Michael Eades

Have you ever watched a movie that had a surprise ending, say, The Sixth Sense, for example, then watched it again? Once you know the ending, you see all kinds of things that make the ending obvious that you didn’t see the first time:



Hearts and age: It’s not just the cholesterol, stupid!

heartHeart disease is not caused by a deficiency of statins, as some heart specialists seem to believe. Top Icelandic cardiologist Dr Axel Sigurdsson isn’t one of them. He is my favourite kind of heart specialist – one with a gloriously open mind and heart, who will look at all the evidence before choosing pills to boost ailing tickers. Sigurdsson is one of the speakers on the stellar panel at the Icelandic Health Symposium’s innovative Foodloose conference in the country’s capital city, Reykjavik, on May 26. He is also a fan of food as medicine for first resort, a refreshing change from orthodox colleagues who think we should all be popping statins like smarties. Here’s what Sigurdsson has to say about hearts, age, cholesterol. – Marika Sboros

 

By Axel Sigurdsson*

For decades, scientists have been trying to find out what causes heart disease. Although we have gained some knowledge along the way, many questions remain unanswered: 



Why heart foundations are off beat on health!

heart healthHeart foundations globally keep beating to the tune of billions of dollars funding from product endorsement. I wouldn’t have such a problem with that were it not for heart foundations endorsing products that are anything but heart-healthy. The Heart Foundation of Australia even endorsed McDonalds products as healthy, for heaven’s sake. It very sensibly cut ties with the fast food chain in 2011. That was always likely to be a vain attempt to reclaim any vestige of credibility, given other unhealthy products it endorses. Another example is the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa that still endorses margarine, although CEO Dr Vash Munghal-Singh tells me that’s under revision.

The  Heart Foundation of Australia recently retired it’s endorsement ‘tick’, following the Canadian lead. It can look like one step forwards – but also two steps backwards. The foundation favours a new star rating system that is highly flawed, says Australian physician Dr Joe Kosterich. And like its opposite numbers worldwide, the foundation is fat-phobic. It still promotes low-fat, fat-free foods and a high-carbohydrate intake.  It recently recommended people eat up to 14 servings of carbohydrate foods a day. That’s not just nuts; evidence suggests it can be a killer for both heart and diabetes patients. Here Kosterich looks at why heart foundations get it so wrong so often. – Marika Sboros

Dr Joe Kosterich

Here is something you are likely to have missed. The Heart Foundation of Australia, following Canada’s lead, is retiring its tick:



Malhotra sounds statins death knell?

HAS the death knell of statins finally sounded? I am probably going out on a big limb when I say: ‘Probably and not a moment too soon.’ If anyone can sound it, world-renowned British consultant cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra can. Heart disease is, after all, not caused by a deficiency of statins.

By Marika Sboros

Consultant cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra is back in Britain after a whistle-stop, sell-out lecture tour of Australia. It was aptly titled Bring Back The Fat. Malhotra took his usual precision scalpel to eviscerate the powerful vested interests behind statins.

He carefully dissected the controversy that has dogged these cholesterol-lowering drugs. Statins have made billions for pharmaceutical companies and millions for the doctors who still dish them out like smarties. For many patients, statins have made no different whatsoever. In some cases, the drugs may even have done harm.



HYMAN ON A REAL ‘DRUG’ TO CURE HEART DISEASE

heart diseasePsst! Want to know a secret cure for heart disease? Better still, a way to prevent it In the first place? Cardiologists around the world still prescribe statin drugs as if these were smarties. Some, like Prof Rory Collins in Britain, have said everyone over 50 should be on statins, even if they don’t have any signs of heart disease whatsoever. It’s as if these doctors  really do believe that heart disease is caused by a deficiency of statins. In my humble opinion, that’s not just nuts, it’s dangerous. In this video, US physician, scholar and best-selling author Dr Mark Hyman gets to the heart of the matter to reveal what he believes is the real ‘drug’ to treat your ticker. Spoiler alert: it’s not really a ‘drug’. Hyman practices what is called ‘functional’ medicine. That is, medicine that works and aims first to ‘do no harm’. Hyman says even if you have a family history of heart disease “genes are not destiny” and … 



Statins: mad, bad world of cholesterol drugs

Statin drugsARE you taking statins? Should you take them? Some doctors want everyone over 50 to take them, even if they have no signs of heart disease whatsoever. Others, among them Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick (author of The Great Cholesterol Con), say that’s just madness.

University of Cape Town emeritus professor Tim Noakes calls statins “the single most ineffective drug ever invented”. Statins are the most prescribed and most profitable drug in medical history. Here’s what doctors say about that and ‘new-generation’ statins lurking in the wings.

By Marika Sboros

Welcome to  “statin insanity” – the extraordinary world of  blockbuster cholesterol-lowering drugs: